Tucson Active Adult Communities Run the Gamut…

December 14th, 2015

The Tucson area is home to a multitude of active adult communities which range in price and amenities available.
Some communities require that buyers be age 50 and others age 55. Some communities stipulate that the owner meet the age requirement. This means a child less than 50 or 55 cannot purchase a property for a parent who meets the age restriction.
Other communities have no restriction on who can purchase a property as long as the occupant meets the age requirement. Some developments ask for proof of age, others don’t. When purchasing a property in an active adult community, the Covenants, Codes and Restrictions (CC and R’s) will spell out the requirements.
Price points run the gamut from $60,000 to more than a million dollars. Popular manufactured home active adult communities offer lower cost options and yet have many of the bells and whistles of the more expensive communities. Most have pools and recreation centers and offer the camaraderie of like minded residents.

Active adult communities built by production builders such as Pulte and Robson sport a beginning price point of the high $100’s.   Add ten to twenty percent to the base price for new home construction upgrades. When considering new home construction, use a Realtor®.  Make sure you make your first visit to that community with the Realtor® since he/she can often save you money and guide you in terms of what upgrades you should consider for future resale value.  You want to have representation and not be represented by the builder’s site agent who is working for the builder, not you.

Your Realtor® should check the inventory in the community to make sure you are aware of what is available.  Pre owned homes will probably have landscaping completed as well as window coverings, fans, and other upgrades which make a house a home and will save you money in the long run.  He/she can help you compare and contrast various communities.

Understanding your wants and desires and trying to match communities throughout the Tucson area is the function and job of your Realtor®.  There are many smaller communities within town; condos, townhomes, patio homes, manufactured homes, in addition to single family homes which may meet your requirements.  Not all active adult communities are golf course communities with hundreds or thousands of homes.

Think about what you want in a home, how you want to live your retirement, and tell your Realtor® who can help you translate that into reality.









Tucson 4th Avenue Street Fair-Things to See and Do…

December 11th, 2015


Weekend Wanderings…

Tucson’s 4th Avenue Street Fair fills 4th Avenue, the street with fascinating eclectic stores, with more than 400 white tents in which thousands of people will wander this weekend.
The semi-annual 4th Annual Street Fair is a staple in Tucson, just before the Christmas holidays and during the spring. Artisans from all over will set up and sell their wares.
The weather promises to cooperate with temps in the 60’s and the sun reigning over the area. The enticing smells of funnel cakes, hot dogs, corn dogs and fried foods linger in the air, but no promises of fried pickles or deep fried oreos. Beer is on tap and the 4th Avenue restaurants will also be open.
The Street Fair evokes a sense of excitement and happiness and eagerness to discover what is in the next tent. When several people congregate in front of one tent, the natural instinct is to find out what everyone is checking out!
It’s a time to meander while checking out what is in the 4th Avenue stores too. The Street Fair comes courtesy of the 4th Avenue Street Merchants who originally sponsored the street fair as a marketing event to get people to see what 4th Avenue has to offer.
And now, after many years, the Street Fair is an event eagerly looked forward to by locals, and also by local charities which sponsor booths to hawk food and beverages.

Above the din of the crowds music drifts through the air like a gentle breeze.  Two stages are erected and musicians of all ilk play according to a schedule.  At one stage there may be country and the other, a group singing a capella.  Sometimes there are instrumentalists, or rock groups.  Swaying to the music or improv dancing is encouraged!  Often musicians will have their music for sale.

Crafts and paintings are available for sale; it’s a good place to find unique stocking stuffers, and there is always an abundance of beautifully crafted jewelry.  Woodworking items show beautiful patinas, and hand thrown pottery are one of a kind in an array of styles and colors.  I’m in the market for a new apron, perhaps I can find one in one of the white tents.

It is always remarkable that all the items for sale are hand crafted with love and precision and don’t come from an assembly line.  The ideas were created by the craftsperson who then took the time to transform the idea into a reality.  Hats off to all of these people, and a huge thank you to the Fourth Avenue Merchants for bringing this event to us.





Tucson Golf Course Community…

December 10th, 2015

Tucson retirement is coming into focus,’ you sat down and discussed what you like and what you don’t like. You’ve decided on a price point, and you’ve come to the conclusion, you want a Tucson golf course community.

My question now is “WHY?”.

Do you play golf? Do you like golf? Or do you like the green expanse of the golf course and the idea of a golf community and the country club atmosphere? Do you both play golf, or are you intending to learn?

I’m not trying to be difficult, I’m trying to drill down and find out your motivations so I can find you the correct Tucson golf course community.

So the first question is – do you want a golf course community or an active adult golf course community? There is a difference and that is the ages of the inhabitants.

My second question is, do you like to play golf on the same course or do you like to play on various courses?

And do you want to grab your clubs and walk to the course or be there to tee off within five or ten minutes?

There are many active adult communities which do not have golf courses, but there are groups of people  within those communities who play at various courses throughout the area.  Tucson has several city owned golf courses; there are municipally owned courses in Green Valley and in Oro Valley.   And there area a plethora of privately owned golf facilities.

If you like playing on various courses, you may consider purchasing a home where there are other amenities which you enjoy.  Living in a golf course community may not be the answer to what you want in retirement.

But on the other hand, if you like the camaraderie and the advantages of living in a golf course community where belonging to the “club” is important, then a golf course community may be your ticket.

When looking at such communities, be sure to check the prices of belonging to the “club”, the amount of money you are expected to spend on food and beverages, the amount to rent the golf cart, and greens fees.  Prices vary.

I belabor these points because this is your retirement home, this is what you’ve worked for all your life, and I want you to think about these questions because your own answers may surprise you!



Active Adult Community? Questions to Ask Yourself…

December 7th, 2015

AdobeStock_80344017_WMSo you are thinking about a retirement community…or in the proper parlance, an active adult community.  There are several questions you should consider and discuss with your partner.

You can do what is known as a “Ben Franklin”- take a sheet of paper, fold it in half lengthwise, and on one side write all the pros – reasons you want an active adult community- and on the half, list all the cons – reasons you may not want an active adult community.  Both parties should do the same, and the fun of the game is not to talk with each other about your lists.

Give yourself two weeks or so to do this.  As you go about your daily business, you will think of reasons for either column, then write them down.  At a previously agreed upon time, over coffee or wine, in a relaxed atmosphere, pull out your lists and discuss them.

You may want one thing and your partner another…this is a time to sit and discuss what is on the list and prioritize what you have created.  You will find that this exercise will help you both formulate what is important to you both, or what is important to one, but perhaps not another.  It will help you to understand what you features you can comprise.

Do you want a single family home?  And if so, what kind?  A regular Single Family home or a patio home?  Or do you want a town home or a condo.  In my last blog, I discussed the differences.

Are you looking for a community which provides a plethora of activities which are pretty much contained within the community?  Or do you want to participate in activities such as classes at Olli, classes and activities from Parks and Rec which run the gamut from learning how to play tennis to advanced pottery classes.  Or are you a volunteer type of person who would become a docent for the Symphony, for the Desert Museum.

This is your retirement and this is your opportunity to do what you have always wanted to do!  Unfortunately many people never think about this and just kind of stumble along in life.  Make this time for you, for you are the most important person in your world!  Do the hard work now so you can enjoy your time in retirement, wherever it is!

Condo? Town Home? What’s the Difference?

December 1st, 2015

golfing-620x412The blue skies of Tucson and the inviting warm climate beckon, especially during drizzly, cold and bone chilling December through March weather.  Thoughts drift to a condo or a town-home in warmer and more hospitable climate, where golf can be played year round, hiking and birding are within a few miles of the city, and dining al fresco at one of the many establishments may become more than just a dream.

Tucson, Oro Valley and Green Valley have many condo and town home communities, many of which are limited to active adults with a minimum age limit of 50 or 55.  Condos and town homes are legally and statutorily different animals.

The Arizona State Statutes define condominiums in Title 33 which is the section governing property.  Chapter 9 concerns condominiums and Charter 16 governs town homes.

Condos do not have to be physically contiguous.  Some condo units are free standing, but the legal description is what separates a town home from a condo.  The owner of a condo owns the unit, but anything exterior to the unit is common property and is governed by the rules and regulations of the Association, unless that exterior element services only that unit.

A town home on the other hand, is a unit whereby the owner owns the land in the front and the back of the property and is responsible for that land.  It is not considered common property.  However a town home complex can have common property such as a recreation center, walking trails, or open space, just like a single family home subdivision.

These types of properties are governed by an Association which is comprised of the owners of the units, each having a specified vote according to the declarations of the community.  That Association is controlled by a Board of Directors which is elected by the property owners.

Rules and regulations of the Association must comply with state law, but dues structure, what the Association offers, and the types of maintenance such as roofing, landscaping, building painting, are determined by the Board of Directors and voted on by the members of the Association.

Often an Association will vote to outsource the day to day maintenance and collection of dues to a Management Company.  Many Homeowner Associations (HOA) pay a management company and this also includes single family home subdivisions as well as town home and condo complexes.

The rules and regulations of the Association are in the documents called the CC and R’s, Covenants, Codes and Restrictions.  Purchasers of properties which have CC and R’s should read the restrictions carefully.  Restrictions regarding the length of time children under a specified age can state are the property are important considerations for people in an active adult community who may want their grandchildren to visit, the policy on pets and weight of pets may be of concern, as well as information on how and when the Association can place a lien on property for non-payment of dues.

Your Realtor® should help you decide whether a condo or town home or single family home is best for you, and should guide you through the paperwork and CC and R’s to make sure the property you are purchasing suits your lifestyle and needs.

For help with purchasing a property in the Tucson area which includes Marana, Oro Valley, Tucson, Green Valley, and Sahuarita, contact Terry Bishop Broker Owner of Terry Bishop Realty, 1802 West Grant Road, Tucson Arizona 85745-1232 – cell:  520-349-4785, office:  520-232-3911.  

Sun Warmth and Happiness!

November 30th, 2015

Wafting through the air is the fragrant smell of turkey soup, simmering on the stove. The heat is cranked to take the chill off the house, and outside lies the beauty of the first snow…diamonds laden on the trees, undisturbed. The snow plows have not yet rumbled through the neighborhood, turning the pristine precipitation to an unappealing brown mess.  I am too old for this cold, this icy season where temps go to zero, when the wind blusters through the trees, and a foot of snow needs to be shoveled from the driveway.

Escape!  Escape to Tucson is the answer!  I will join the hundreds of winter visitors escaping from the northern climes to sun, temps in the 60’s and 70’s, to being able to take a walk outside without slipping and sliding on ice covered pathways.

Tucson is a haven for those who want to escape to a warm, dry climate.  Those arthritis sufferers suddenly find relief from the pain in the dry climate, and some come on the recommendation of their physician. Others swell the Tucson population because they want to golf and enjoy the myriad of outside activities, not spending  winter cooped up inside their northern abode.

Winter rentals are abundant, and Thanksgiving marks the influx of “winter visitors”, affectionately called “snowbirds”.  The majority however arrive after the Christmas holiday.  Many have purchased winter homes, often in active adult communities where activities range the gamut from book clubs to pool tournaments, from cooking classes to exercise classes.  Golf, pickle ball, and swimming is a draw for many of these communities, as well as restaurants on premises, community dinners, and group outings to various places in Arizona.

The cultural scene in Tucson is also a draw, the city is the home of the University of Arizona, and those who desire ongoing education can attend to Olli ( http://olli.arizona.edu/ ).  Broadway comes to Tucson at the many theaters, both large, and small and intimate, and the music scene encompasses all genres.

Tucson has several art museums as well as the Center for Creative Arts at the University of Arizona, home to the Ansel Adams collection. And Tucson is a gastronomical delight with the best Mexican food in the nation, as well as restaurants which represent all cultures:  Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, plus a myriad of excellent food trucks.

How can you not want to escape cold, grey, dreary weather and exchange it for warm, bright, sunshine and a city which will welcome you with open arms?







Weekend Wanderings…

November 27th, 2015

IMG_1504With temps in the 70’s, and sunshine throughout the days, what a weekend to take advantage of Tucson outdoors! It’s a perfect weekend for hiking on one of the many trails in the Catalinas, the Tucson Mountains, or the Rincons. Wear hiking boots if you have them, and bring plenty of water, along with your snacks. Take your cell phone in case of an emergency.
http://www.visittucson.org/things-to-do/hiking/ has information about the various trails, the locations and categorizes them according to strenuousness. Snakes should not be a problem since they like to sun themselves at 80 degrees or warmer.
For unique southwestern gifts for the hard to buy for on your holiday list, check out the Native American Heritage Social and Indian Craft Market Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 pm at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites Courtyard, 5151 East Grant. There will be native foods, arts and crafts, music and dancing. More than 15 nations will be represented. Admission is by donation.
The fine art of Ikebana Flower arranging is on exhibit at the Tucson Botanical Garden, 2130 North Alvernon Way. Graceful arrangements with few branches and flowers express the artistic talents of the creator in the interpretation of humanity and nature. Although seemingly simple arrangements, the study of ikebana flower arranging is a life long pursuit and is a creative art expression. While at the Botanical Gardens, wander over to the Butterfly Magic exhibit and be entranced by the beauty of the winged insects.
Animal lovers to attention! The Pima Animal Care Center is having a Black Friday Promotion today from noon to 3 pm and every day through November 30. Come and fall in love with one of the kittens, cats, puppies, or dogs and take it home, already spayed or neutered. The fees are being picked up by Zappo’s and Best Friends, so you only pay the $16 dog license fee. The animals have also be vaccinated and microchipped and come with one free vet visit! PACC is at 4000 North Silverbell Road.
Fact: Did you know if you have a dog which has not been spayed or neutered, in six years, that animal can have 67,000 – yes, sixty seven thousand – offspring. Most of those animals are homeless so care for your pet by spaying and neutering!
If you have to take advantage of Black Friday Sales, locally owned shops on 4th Avenue are having Black Friday Sales. Wander along the iconic 4th Avenue which is home to fun shops in which to browse and buy, and stop for a bite to eat at one of the locally owned restaurants.


November 25th, 2015

canstockphoto12656041Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude. I am a very fortunate woman to have so many people surrounding me who are a source of inspiration, support, and help. They all exhibit honesty and subscribe to ethical behavior which is the cornerstone of my business.
These are people to whom I go to when I need information and they are people who help make a real estate transaction smooth and seamless.
My first shout out is to my able assistant, Andrew, who is so anal, the very antithesis of what I am, scattered and disorganized- he keeps me on task and isn’t afraid to call out those things which I need to do which somehow get lost in the shuffle, intentional or not!
No transaction can begin to get off the ground without the lender, so to Courtney Walker and her crew at Cornerstone, thank you. I appreciate all you do and the speed in which you can turn a loan into a home for a client! The shorter the period of time, the happier everyone seems to be.
For transactions for which I have control – my “go to” gal is Tina Banks at Fidelity National Title. Fidelity charges less for title and escrow services than other companies here in town so are a better “deal” for buyers and sellers, and Tina knows the business inside and out. She’s an expert at explaining and her patience is admirable!
To Zack Collins at Fidelity – how could I even begin without you? You provide me with the resources I need to start a transaction – the very information about the property itself. And you are so willing to look up weird things that I ask.
And to Kimberly Keegan at Fidelity- thank you for your knowledge, time, and effort not just to me, but to the entire Tucson Realtor community in promoting things like the TAR Home Tour.
Chris Webb, with an apt last name, Webb, the face of internet marketing, my go to for all things computer, a source of marketing ideas who shares his time willingly and a marketing guru for Cornerstone Lending, thank you. I’m implementing much of what you suggest.
How can we complete a transaction without my inspector who knows building – with experience as a contractor in two states, building inspector for the Town of Marana, and home inspector for umpteen years- Paul Juarez- Inspect One, thank you. You are thorough, explain to buyers and sellers any problems, how they should be fixed if necessary and you are not afraid to “kill a deal” if that is in the best interest of the client. I appreciate your honesty.   And because there are two types of homes in Tucson, those which have termites, and those which will get termites, thank you to Tucson Exterminating for all the homes they check for me, and for their good pricing and honesty.
This is my “immediate” team. And two more, Garrett Flores, who fixes my computers and keeps me up to date and doesn’t let me have down time when the computers are temperamental…and to Troy Ruboyianes and his team, especially Melissa, you keep me on track financially and when I look at the numbers, I learn so much, sometimes not what I want to know! A CPA on board is essential!
Thank you all – you help to make me successful and you contribute to smooth transactions for both buyers and sellers…and to all the agents on the other end of the transaction, we all know, we need you too!
Thank you!

Why Read the Prelim and Title Commitment?

November 24th, 2015

title-commitment-600What does the preliminary title report and commitment for title contain?
In addition to the findings of the title search, the prelim includes the legal description of the property and this should be checked with the legal description on the sales contract. The sales contract describes the property three ways; the street address, the parcel identification number or the assessor’s number, and the legal description.
There will often be a plat map showing the location and dimensions of the property and often a partial plat map of the subdivision. There may be drawings showing easements of the property on the plat map.
In the description of the property, easements will be described; most property contain utility easements. If there is common property, this too will be noted on the commitment.
If there is a Homeowner’s Association, the commitment will make reference to that fact and indicate where the HOA documents can be found in the recorder’s records. This will include the original documents for Covenants, Codes and Restrictions, and any amendments.
CC and R’s originally were put in place for the benefit of the builder and upon the build out of the subdivision, the Association is turned over, along with any common property, to the residents of the subdivision. There is nothing which requires a HOA; I live in a subdivision built in 1979 and upon the transfer of the “Association” to the residents, the residents promptly voted to abandon the HOA. This document is recorded.
Builders protect their investment by requiring standards so a resident doesn’t paint his house purple or store junk cars in the front yard. This would make the area less desirable for potential buyers and infringe upon the builder’s ability to sell new homes.
HOA dues must be brought up to date if in arrears, prior to transfer of title. Likewise, property taxes will be referenced and must be current prior to transfer of title, including late fees and penalties. The name of the association and management company with contact information is specified.
All liens on the property must be cleared prior to conveyance. And in community property states, the marital status of the buyers are specified. If a married person takes title alone, the spouse must sign a disclaimer deed which is recorded.
And of course any and all mortgages are itemized with the recording number, and including any Home Equity Lines of Credit. And the deed must be recorded from the grantor to the grantee.
Requirements to be fulfilled prior to recordation are itemized as well as the manner in which the documents must be signed, such as margin requirements.
The preliminary title report and commitment for title are important documents and must be read by the buyer, the seller, and both agents so that any errors can be corrected or problems with tile be solved prior to recordation.

Why Have Title Insurance?

November 23rd, 2015

red-flags-collection_23-2147512332Why have a title search? Truthfully you may be purchasing a piece of property which actually may not be yours. Liens follow the property, not the people.
Suppose I sell you a piece of property at a rock bottom price, offer to finance it for you, tell you I will do everything, and all you have to do is give me earnest money of $20,000. It’s such a bargain you hop right on, so you give me good funds for $20,000. We sign the paperwork and alas, the property is now yours. I file all the paperwork and you think I am absolutely wonderful….Until you realize when you purchased that property from me, you also purchased all the liens; they are now your responsibility.
They can be mechanic’s liens for work completed but not paid; medical liens from doctors and hospitals, judgment liens handed down by a court for accidents or other legal entanglements, back child support, internal revenue service liens, HOA liens for back dues–liens for just about anything—you have just purchased all of them and they could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That’s just one of the reasons you need a title report. Maybe this is a second marriage and the property was purchased during the first marriage and there are children by that marriage. These children may have claim to the property when that spouse is deceased, and the living spouse actually has nothing.
Perhaps one spouse has died and the surviving spouse has not probated the estate. This happens frequently and the property is in the name of both spouses. A dead person cannot have claim to a property, it must be dispersed as the will deems or intestate (by the state). This must be completed before any transfer of property so that the legal owners can be found and possibly agree to the transfer.
Very often it is an investigative mission to find surviving heirs. I had a situation where the woman who was in a second marriage, wanted to sell her property. She had children by her first marriage and her first husband had died. The wife never took care of the first husband’s estate. He wanted his children to receive his portion of the property.
Immediately that means the wife receives only half of the value of the property, not the full value she anticipated. There were five children, spread all over the country. One of the children had died so his heirs were in line to inherit one fifth of one half of the proceeds of the property. We couldn’t find him and this was going to tie up the conveyance of the property. Finally we located him, and then we were able to put the property on the market. Had we a contract waiting, we probably would have lost the deal.
Good agents always check title prior to putting property on the market. Usually there is no problem, but sometimes a real estate/estate attorney needs to be called to unravel the title in a legal manner. Title insurance insures that good title is being passed to the buyer. Always read the preliminary title report and immediately take care of any red flags.